Monday, September 30, 2013

BLOG TOUR: The Outside by Laura Bickle INTERVIEW

The Outside
The Hallowed Ones Book Two
by Laura Bickle

Genre: paranormal YA
Publisher: Harcourt
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
ISBN: 978-0544000131
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85000 words
Cover Artist: Shane Rebenschied
Available Here:


One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?
Advance Praise for The Outside:

 “Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul.”
—Kirkus, starred review

“At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller.”

 -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling author of The Darklight Series
Praise for The Hallowed Ones

"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."
—Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

"What an eerily believable, unique story! I can't stop thinking about it--or shivering."
—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books

"Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! Moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle's debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more."

"Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Katie's an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions's gallery of strong heroines."

Can you please share with us a little about yourself?

My professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When I’m not patrolling the stacks at the public library, I’m dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (I also write contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). I live in Ohio with my husband and a herd of mostly-reformed feral cats. THE HALLOWED ONES was my first young adult novel.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I’ve always been scribbling, since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I didn’t believe, until recently, that other people would want to read what I wrote.

I have, at various times, worked in criminal justice, in a library, and in government. Dreams change, but writing has always been with me.

Can you share with us your typical writing day.  Is there anything you have to have while writing?

I do my best to keep a writing calendar and to commit to writing a certain number of words a day. My favorite place to write is out on the patio, where I can hear the frogs and the crickets. I can’t write very fast or well in front of the television…I have to really shut the door on distractions to get focus. I know a lot of writers who can write in busy coffee shops, but that’s not me. Too much going on, and I can’t get immersed in the work if there’s the constant temptation of chocolate…

What would you say is the most challenging or rewarding part of writing?

Endings of books, the last hundred pages, are my favorites. I love seeing all the plot threads come together and the story unfurls itself. It’s really like running downhill…almost effortless.

The ends are a lot easier than starting. The blank page intimidates me like nothing else. That’s my least favorite part of the process.

Can you please tell us about your latest book?

My newest release is THE OUTSIDE, sequel to THE HALLOWED ONES, a YA thriller. Katie has been exiled from her Amish community for failing to follow the new rules of survival. As the title to THE OUTSIDE suggests, Katie must confront the devastation in the world beyond her community. Her chief challenges will be her own survival and protecting those she loves from a plague of vampires.

How did you come with the idea for this story?

I live not too far from a large Amish settlement, one that I visited often as a child. I used to see the Amish girls my age and wonder how their lives were different from mine. I admired how strong and self-sufficient they seemed. It later occurred to me that these traits, combined with their incredibly strong sense of community, could make the Amish uniquely equipped to survive certain types of disasters, such as the vampire apocalypse that devastates the world in THE HALLOWED ONES and THE OUTSIDE.

Can you share with us your current work in progress?

Both THE HALLOWED ONES and THE OUTSIDE will be available as audio books from very soon!

And I’ll have a short story, “From Dust,” appearing in HALLOWEEN: MAGIC, MYSTERY, AND THE MACABRE, coming out later this month. It’s about a young woman facing her family’s magical bargain with the forces of nature during the Dust Bowl.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Right now, I’m reading Kathleen Peacock’s HEMLOCK, Cat Winters’ IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, and Lauren DeStefano’s SEVER. All are incredible!

Do you feel that any of your favorite authors have inspired your writing style?

My all-time favorite book is Robin McKinley’s HERO AND THE CROWN. I read it when I was a pre-teen, and fell in love with fantasy ever after. It was the first book I’d read that had a female protagonist who slew her own dragons. I was hooked on the genre.

Open your book to a random page and please reads us a few lines.

Page one has one of my favorite lines: “One does not sleep in the presence of evil. Not when you can see it and it can see you.”

What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?

It’s not on my shelf yet, but I can’t wait for Lauren DeStefano’s PERFECT RUIN. I love the idea of a city in the sky and a heroine looking down at forbidden ground.

Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?

I have occasionally used characteristics or quirks of people I know in my books. But I feel like it would be a bit invasive to take apart the entire personality of someone I know and really get into their head. It would definitely be crossing a line for me

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while you were writing?

I think the most surprising thing I learned was that I really love building worlds -and the research that goes into that process. My shelves are full of notebooks stuffed with scribbles, drawings, and diagrams. Writing gives me an excuse to research anything I want, from Amish history to vampire lore and everything in between.
Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).

Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.

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